My husband and I have been married for 2 years and were together before our wedding for a little over a year and a half. We have our ups and downs like everyone else, but I'd say most of the time I am genuinely happy in the relationship, and he tells me he is too.
I am pregnant and we're expecting a baby in December. This has been great news for us and our families are very involved and supportive. He's been very caring of me as well. The problem is that, every now and then (every 3 months or so), my husband just seems to get in this mood out of nowhere and tends to lash out at me over little things. He claims he is miserable with me and that he wants to leave, and then brings up all sorts of other little nit-picky details to make the case that I am "completely the problem". This happened last night/this morning, which is why I am very upset right now.
Specifically: Over the weekend, things were normal, life was beautiful, and then last night around 8 pm in front of the television, after I had cooked dinner, we'd eaten and he had been watching TV for quite some time while I was doing that, I asked him if we could watch something else. He tends to just want to watch the news and other documentary news-like stuff, and frankly, sometimes I just want to watch something different. But really, how petty is that to argue about? Well, I asked him if we could watch something else, and when he got upset I said it gets old watching the news all the time. He started getting worked up and yelling, and then said some nasty, pretty immature things (as in "we need a bigger apartment so I can stay away from you!"), left the room, slammed the bedroom door and didn't come out the rest of the night.
This morning, he was spooning me in bed and trying to have a conversation like normal but I wasn't up for that after the way he had acted. We took the bus together to work, although he left the apartment without saying anything (which I hate) and I ended up catching up to him at the bus stop because I left a few minutes later anyway. On the bus, when I confronted him about his behavior the night before, he started going off on how he is miserable with me, how I am totally always the problem and how my parents know it too (?), then went on to twist things up that I had said in the past (for instance, that i don't want his parents to visit us, which isn't true- I had said in the past that I didn't want his parents to stay in our apartment WHILE I GO INTO LABOR. This is a very different statement), etc. When he gets this way, it is like he will throw out anything he can to push my buttons and hurt me, and then when I get upset, he says "see? you can't control yourself, look how you're behaving".
This has happened many times in the past over the years and usually it all blows over after a few days of ignoring each other and then having a bit conversation. But when he gets like this, I am furiously hurt. No one has ever made me as angry and feeling as out-of-control of my emotions as he can make me feel when he gets this way. It is like I try to reason with him and talk with him and he just gets ridiculously accusatory and claims he is miserable. At the same time, a few days before an outburst like this, he will tell me how he loves me and he is happy with me.
I don't think he has some psychological disorder or anything. I'm a psychologist so I'm pretty keen to those things. This is more like a temper that gets triggered by something, and there is no stopping him. He will push any button he can to hurt me in the moment or to make me react. Typically I do because he can be so frustrating. Today, I pushed my way past him to get off the bus because I couldn't sit on a public bus trying to talk to him when he was so irrational.
I want to be with him, like I said, most of the time things are FINE, but when these moods of his flare up, I don't know how to handle myself or him in order to get through them. Today at work I've been able to be happy and forget about it but knowing I have to go home to him later kills me. Any advice would be appreciated!
Well you are right about him pushing your buttons... and I'd say it goes further than that. Some of those things he has said are verbally/emotionally abusive. He's playing on your fears and purposfully getting you upset. What kind of man does that to his wife...not to mention his pregnant wife??
As a psychologist, try seeing this situation from another point of view. What would you tell a woman or friend who asked you for advice who was in the exact same situation? What advice would you give her?
Well, I do ask myself that often. And I've done some of the things that I think I would tell others. For instance, I've left him alone to get over his "mood", which usually works, and I've suggested counseling to work on the ways in which we communicate our feelings to each other, and he is opposed to that (I think he is too prideful and he says he does not want someone else to help him at his own marriage). I do agree that his comments when his temper flares up like this can be verbally abusive, and I've told him that before. What he tells me in response is that if he is being abusive to me, then we shouldn't continue our relationship because I don't deserve that. To me, it is almost like he is testing me to leave or something, even though I don't think he really wants that.
I've definitely gotten stronger over time after dealing with several of these mood swings on his part- initially, I used to cry, feel like crap all day, react back, that sort of thing. His comments would enrage me. Now, as much as I become super angry and hurt in the moment, I typically remove myself from the situation, go off and do something, and (to the extent to which I can) go on with my day so that I can sort of stop caring.
What bothers me the most is that I often feel like he turns on me out of nowhere. 90% of the time he is communicative to me, loving, he is definitely more affectionate toward me than I am toward him, he can express his feelings/concerns and we can have great conversations about our future, we share the same interests and life goals. These are all the reasons why I am with him. But in the other instances where he flips out over such petty reasons, it is like I don't know who he is and I lose trust in him at that moment in time. I feel vulnerable and totally unable to manage a conversation with him, as it escalates almost immediately into some form of criticism of my character. When he gets this way I can't talk to him like we usually can talk and I can't trust myself either not to react to the nasty things he can say. And then I feel like that gives him the upper hand when I react because he turns it around on me, like I'M the one out of control and being so horrible to him.
I should add that I'm a school psychologist- I work with kids. While I think that I can read people very well and am pretty psychologically aware, I'm not a relationship counselor. I'm human and his behavior hurts me, and, though I try, it is often hard to separate myself and scrutinize my own relationships as I would someone else's.
So, what I would tell others is pretty much what I tell myself- that I should talk to him about it when he is calmer about how much his behavior hurts me, not put up with the treatment, etc. I actually texted him today that I would not be coming home and that he could have all the free space that he wanted, but then I realized that I am pregnant, have no clothing with me and need to go to work tomorrow and don't have friends that live close to my work that I would want to involve in my problems. I don't think I did that much wrong to have to be the one to go through the stress of being a nomad for a few days. However, I know I can't put up with this, and I want to make that point and don't know of a way that I can get that across. If my parents lived nearby I could easily go there, but they are 5 hours away. The things I have tried in the moment just don't seem to work. If I talk to him about it within the day, even if he is calmer, he turns it around and brings up all of the things that I allegedly do to him. Like I said, he won't see a counselor with me, and the only thing that seems to work is to leave him alone, at which point we will eventually talk, one of us will bend, and life is beautiful again. But that doesn't deal with the root of the problem.
I don't want to threaten things like he does unless I mean them. I want to have a family with him for all of the reasons that I am with him. However, when he blows up this way I seriously feel like I don't know who or where I am. It comes that out-of-the-blue for me, and I worry somewhat about our future. I do want to go away for a while to make the point that I can't take that behavior. My husband acts like it should be so obvious to me that he is "miserable", but if anyone would ask me the day before he blows up like this, I would say that our relationship is pretty good. And he would too- he just told me on Sunday that he felt like things were really going well between us and he never got tired of me and enjoyed being with me all the time. When he acts this way, it feels like I don't know what to believe and it is very difficult to deal with the feeling that your husband suddenly turned on you.
I really feel for you living with this Jekyl and Hyde kind of man.
I certainly am not a psychologist or doctor but I am familiar with Borderline personality disorder. A lot of members of this board are as well. Your husband sounds sort of Borderline, because of the way he loves you to death until his inner demons start making him insecure at which point he lashes out at you to push you away. Its always pull and push game with Borderline d/o. You are either loved greatly or hated by them. They don't have a gray area in how they see you. So its possible your husband has this to an extent. And the worst part is that those with Borderline d/o rarely seek help. They don't or won't see themselves as the problem. (there are exceptions of course).
No matter what his real issue is, you have to do what is best and safest for you and your child and your mental well being. If he refuses counsling, you should go by yourself so that you can gain some strength and resources and formulate a plan for yourself and your child.
It is simply unfair for your husband to refuse help and to lash out at you the way he does..even if it is 10 percent of the time. He has to take responsibility to change.
And you are bringing a child into your lives. Please get couseling before the baby comes. I fear that his mood swings towards you will only increase, because with parenthood comes stress along with all of the love they bring. How would you explain this to a child? That their father becomes an instant a** every few months. A child will not congitively understand that as you well know being a child school couselor.
Please take care of yourself and your baby first and foremost. You do not need this stress, and you need support. Find a therapist who will help you, even if my Mr Hyde won't seek help.
Last edited by River rocks; 06-15-2010 at 12:49 PM.
the thing that I worry about in your situation is that you are going to have a child with him. That's why I never had one with my ex-husband because I didn't want to raise a child to grow up and be another abuser! They will see the way he acts and treats you and think that is acceptable behavior!
Also if he's bi-polar, there is a big chance that your child will be bi-polar also. Do you really want to deal with 2 of them?
If he won't go to counceling with you, I suggest you go alone. A good therapist can help you get a handle on your relationship and how to handle it.
You are human, not ONLY or JUST human, but human, and it's natural to feel hurt, angry and knocked off center by his behavior. I have no idea why he does this, but I do know that only he can make the choice to stop it. Obviously words aren't working. You can talk to him till you're blue in the face, but as long as his behavior doesn't cost him anything, he has no reason to change it. Of course you shouldn't make idle threats. Don't threaten anything you aren't willing to follow through with. But you can tell him how it hurts your feelings and how you won't put up with it anymore all day long, but he won't get it until you actually walk out the door and don't come back until he's serious about dealing with his problems. Even if you do leave just for the night or a day or two when he "acts up." You could keep a packed overnight bag in your car and go to a hotel. NOW, a few things about that...1) I know you're pregnant, but it is your child you need to think about. Imagine your husband treating you like that in front of your child, your child watching it all, soaking it all up, if it's a boy, thinking that's how men are supposed to behave and that's how men get to treat their wives, or if it's a girl, that's how women have to tolerate being treated by men. Can you imagine your son growing up to be just like him, or your daughter growing up to marry someone just like him? Or 2) worse yet, imagine your husband treating your child the exact same way he treats you. That's the first thing to think about.
The second thing is, has he ever thrown things at you, punched the wall next to you, or damaged or destroyed your property during these times? If so, it could be he is escalating toward physicial violence. If you feel that is happening, you must be very careful in how you deal with getting away from such a dangerous situation. If you actually did say "I'm not going to be treated this way. I'm leaving and will come back when we can talk in a calm, respectful way" and leave. What do you think his reaction would be? Do you think he would hurt you, or himself, or any pets you may have in the house?
I wish I could go somewhere overnight or for a few days to make a point to him. It is not so easy at the moment for several reasons: 1) I live in NYC and don't have a car to keep an overnight bag into. Location here is a big deal and most of my friends live outside of Manhattan, and I work (in Manhattan) close to my home (in Manhattan). Which brings me to 2) I work another week and a half, and then school is out for the summer. My husband is looking for jobs in the state where my family lives, and he already has an offer there, so if he does decide to take it, we will be moving in the next month. 3) Being pregnant to me means that the baby comes first and foremost, even if it is still just a fetus. So I need to take care of myself. What I need is my home, my prenatals, my bed, and all of the other things that make me comfortable throughout the day. Yesterday I had some serious back pain- well, my heating pad was at home and I used it and it was great. It may sound petty, but i think right now taking off to a friend's house, having to travel an extra hour in the morning to get to work and another one to get back, plus not having my things or my bed is somewhat of a big deal to me right now. Now, if I lived near my parents, which I hope to soon, this wouldn't be a problem. I would take off to my parents and stay for a week if I wanted to. Here, it is much more difficult to do that. I don't have close friends close by and many of my friends have spouses and I don't want to inconvenience them. I also have a dear cat at home that I need to take care of since my husband's mad at me for whatever reason I don't trust him to do it. Who is going to take in a cat and a pregnant lady for a few days and not secretly be annoyed? Plus my cat would freak out in a new place.
Last night my husband slept on the couch and I was really happy with that. He's never done that before but I don't really care. I also talked to my mom for a while and went out after work to do some shopping and I felt great. I came home, he was shut up in the bedroom, I made myself dinner, watched a show or two, and put on a prenatal exercise DVD. It was a good night for me. At this point, I feel like if he wants to live for a few days ignoring me and pouting or whatever while I go on with my day, that is fine with me. It is better than trying to talk with him right now. After work today I am going out with some friends I haven't seen in a while, so I'm looking forward to that. If I think about him I get angry over the way he can be, but I have a life and I need to take care of myself right now.
Of course I worry about the baby from time to time and the high change of him/her growing up with a mood-swinging dad. If this is how he is going to be, especially in front of our kid, I know I will run off to my parents for a while or will run off for good if I have to. Even though it will be hard, I do have a career and I don't feel "bound" to him by finances or any of the other reasons that women stick around. We make about the same amount of money so I am not financially dependent on him. My life is comfortable with a second, shared income but obviously my and my child's mental health is more important. Yet I love him, he is my husband and the majority of the time our relationship is great, but yes, he turns into Mr. Hyde for 3 days every few months and it is really weird. I don't take it personally necessarily and I'm not out to really diagnose him with anything, but the fact that he can really dish out some low blows for no real reason baffles me.
I've considered talking to his sister about this all. He has an extremely supportive family and his oldest sister is very special in her ability to help people out and to reason with others. He looks up to her a lot. However, I think he would be FURIOUS if I involved her directly in my issues with him. At the same time, I wonder if some family influence would straighten him out a little bit. I don't usually believe in involving family members into one's marital issues, but I debate involving his sister every now and then.
I really didn't come on here with plans to leave my husband. Most of the time on these boards it does seem like, more often than not, that is the underlying advice people give others. I have thought of everything you all are saying and they are all very valid points. However, at this point I am really trying to get to the bottom of this and learn how to cope with him and try to get him to accept his issues. Maybe I will spend forever trying, but I know I can't walk away from a marriage until I am 100% through. I will not put up with physical abuse or damaging mental abuse when I have a child. I do know that about myself. And by wanting to work through this does not mean I am just sitting around taking the abuse. I'm pretty fed up, but of course, these moods are always short-lived and I think that is the hardest thing because I can easily forget about them for a long time once he "snaps out of it".
I wish I could make a point to him that I wont stick around until he gets his act together, but like I said, I'm not ready to leave him, don't want to make idle threats that I can't follow through with, and right now it is a bit difficult to put my pregnant self outside of my home. I wish I was closer to my parents because it would still be comfortable on my end to leave my house and I would feel supported, and at this point up in NY if I was to leave, I think I would put myself through more stress than I am experiencing right now. My husband can seriously infuriate me in the moment, but afterwards, my attitude always changes to "to *** with him" and I do stuff on my own for awhile until he comes around. So I'm pretty comfortable and don't feel stressed right now. Just angry when I think about the things he says and the way he acts.
Counseling on my own is a good idea and I've considered it several times, but things always blow over before I even set up an appointment so I don't go. I feel like, the majority of the time when things are fine, I have nothing to get therapy for. But, if we move in July and I settle in in another state, I will look into it for the sake of myself and my child.